Review: Under the Dome

Under the Dome
Under the Dome by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My review will cover the book and what I’ve seen of the show, but mostly the book. After 1,074 pages—the largest book I’ve read, to date, outside of the Bible—I am glad to be out from under the Dome. Not that it wasn’t a good story—it was—but I needed some fresh air. King’s other lengthy works seem to work out just fine; the last one I read was 11/22/63 at over 800 pages and it stayed fresh most of the time. But even that could have been cut back a bit. As for the Dome, Mr. King should have followed his own advice from his writing book and cut down at least ten percent.

Now, let me touch upon the show. It’s totally different than the book. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before. But in this case, it’s REALLY different. The TV show starts with Dale Barbara burying a body. In the book, Dale Barbara never kills anyone. And the changes keep coming. I was a bit irked by the addition of the lesbian couple and the token female Hispanic Police Chief. That’s all fine and dandy, but it makes the TV show feel more conforming to societal standards versus telling the damn story. The final straw was seeing every High School student running around with a Windows Phone, playing on Windows 8 tablets, and partying around an Xbox. This isn’t the real world that King tries to make us associate with his stories; this is product placement as evidenced by “partially sponsored by Microsoft” in the end credits. No more show for me.

As for the book, I really enjoyed the multiple themes carried throughout. First, there is the situational story of diminishing resources and polluted skies. Then, we have an investigation of a group of people under a microscope, much like we study colonies of ants. We have the benefit of being Big Brother as an entire town faces impending, insidious doom.

In keeping tradition with King’s other works, the characters are varied and colorful. The dialogue is witty and the narrative interesting. There were a lot of interesting plot twists, but nothing overly dramatic. And while the majority of the book could be hooked upon reality, there are a couple of things (without giving away spoilers) that appear toward the end that are definitely fiction-based. Overall, everything was an enjoyable ride, but I feel taking over 800 pages to get to the climax was not only a slow burn, but nearly a fizzle. If it wasn’t for King’s masterful ability of weaving a story, there would be no way I could have finished this book.

Five stars for the storytelling, but one knocked off for the avoidable length.

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